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Review: Monday Nights (6th Man Collective)

September 15th, 2014

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Interactive theatre blends with a pick up game of basketball in Monday Nights at Toronto’s Theatre Centre

I unabashedly love immersive interactive theatre performance works. I am entirely biased — they just make me happy. Playing at the Theatre Centre, Monday Nights fits beautifully into this category. It is a fun piece about basketball. Super simple, but thoroughly charming.

This work started in 2008 as a group of friends meeting on Monday Nights to play ball and relieve a bit of stress at the same time. Over the past six years it has gone through a number of stages until it reached the Theatre Centre. 6th Man Collective have been in residency at the Theatre Centre since 2012 developing the work that they are now sharing. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Ubu Mayor: A Harmful Bit Of Fun (One Little Goat Theatre Company)

September 15th, 2014

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Ubu Mayor is a lampoon of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug, on stage at Wychwood Theatre

Bacon. Cocaine. Oral sex. Politics. Add in a dash of brotherly love and you have the fantastic production of Ubu Mayor: A Harmful Bit of Fun by One Little Goat Theatre Company, now playing at the Wychwood Theatre. This play, with music directly inspired by Alfred Jarry’s 1896 Dadaist classic, Ubu Roi, is a hilarious, thinly veiled lampoon of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Doug. Read the rest of this entry »

Play Listings for the Week of September 15th, 2014

September 15th, 2014

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TIFF is over, and the weather is getting chilly… But the theatre scene in Toronto is heating up for the coming start of the fall! Here’s a list of the shows playing in Toronto during the week of September 15th, 2014. If they’re highlighted in red, and have two asterisks before them, they come highly recommended by our Managing Editor, Wayne. You never know what you might find!

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Review: A Man of Two Minds/Lost Refuge (The Bony Fiddle Theatre Group)

September 14th, 2014

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Two delightfully performed one-act plays, A Man of Two Minds and Lost Refuge took the stage at Toronto’s Tranzac

One act plays can be a good opportunity for playwrights to tell engaging stories on stage without being burdened by the pressure of carrying on with the concept longer than necessary. As such, it was a wise decision on the part of The Bony Fiddle Theatre Group to present Blair Mueller’s two shows, A Man of Two Minds and Lost Refuge, as a double header. Individually, they might have fallen flat – but together, they served as proof of Mueller’s skill as a writer/director, and the theatre group’s versatility as a whole.

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Review: Richard III: The Pleasures of Violence (Kadozuke Kollektif)

September 13th, 2014

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Richard and Anne+hdrroning

Despite great performances, visual obstructions and hard plastic chairs make Richard III a drawn out discomfort

Richard III: The Pleasures of Violence, currently being produced by Kadozuke Kollektif, was billed in the press material as a “reimagining” of the classic, which made me expect alterations to the text and possibly plot changes as well. Instead this seems to be Shakespeare’s Richard III with some inventive staging. However, because I need to tell you about the experience of the show as well as about the show itself, I have to talk a bit about my bum.

Richard III is the second longest play in the Shakespeare canon and is almost always produced abridged. I have seen it previously a number of times (including last year at Shakespeare in the Ruff) and the run time is usually around two and a half hours. Kadozuke Kollektif seems to be presenting the whole thing: their show runs three and a half hours. And the seating is hard plastic folding chairs. Read the rest of this entry »

The Theatregoer’s Bill of Rights

September 13th, 2014

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  1. No folding chairs; no patio furniture. (An exception may be made if your show is literally on a patio.)
  2. If the show runs longer than 90 minutes, it must have an intermission.
    • If the show runs longer than 120 minutes, try for two. (And add an intermission for each additional 45 minutes.)
    • If the show runs longer than 180 minutes, it better be the best thing anyone’s put on a stage since Olivier did Hamlet.
  3. If you’re holding the curtain longer than 5 minutes, tell the audience and give us an estimate of when we’ll kick off. (A vague message about “technical difficulties” is just fine.) Don’t make us sit there wondering whether someone’s died.
  4. Always end your show before 1 AM. (If only so people can catch the subway home.)
  5. Warn your audience in advance — about everything. Warn us about gunshots; wheelchair inaccessibility; audience participation; lack of parking near the venue; strobe lights; graphic sexuality; cigarette smoke; “splash zones”; anything; everything.
    These warnings should be on your website, on your social media presence, on a poster outside your venue, and anywhere else it makes sense to include them. It should be impossible to buy a ticket in a state of obliviousness.
  6. Functional, sanitary, well-maintained and accessible washrooms, inside the venue. Don’t make us cross the street to Starbucks.
  7. The venue will have some indication that it is a venue; at least tape a poster to the front window. Don’t make us tug on anonymous doors hoping we’ve found the right place.
  8. Unless it’s opening night, closing night or a fundraiser, curtain speeches are to be capped at 2 minutes; aim for 90 seconds. If the speaker hits 3 minutes, just start the show and play him off-stage.
  9. Latecomers will be seated in sensibly-located aisle-facing house seats near the doors, not wedged into the middles of rows.
  10. But seriously: NO FOLDING CHAIRS. EVER.

Review: Do You Believe in Goats? (Touch My Stereotype)

September 12th, 2014

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Touch My Stereotype presents their sketch comedy show Do You Believe in Goats? at Toronto’s Unit 102 Theatre

GoatsIn this vast world of ours, there are so many things that logic and science alone can’t explain. But just because we don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it can’t be used as comedic fodder. Well, at least that’s what the cast of Do You Believe in Goats? would have you believe.

Taking aim at all things occult and pop culture, this Touch My Stereotype production is a one-hour mixed-media sketch revue that demonstrates that nothing – not even the realm of ghouls and goblins – is safe from ridicule.

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Preview: New Groundswell Festival (Nightwood Theatre)

September 12th, 2014

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Nightwood Theatre presents the New Groundswell Festival in Toronto’s Distillery District

Nicole-Brooks-720x540Women and theatre, power, politics and feminism: these are a few of my favourite things and they are all on offer at the New Groundswell Festival: A National Festival of Contemporary Women’s Theatre. Groundswell is a festival of new works presented by Nightwood Theatre and it is taking place in the Distillery District from September 8-14.

There are two workshop productions this year. Playing in the Dancemakers Theatre is Obeah Opera, performed a cappella by an impressively large all-female cast. Obeah Opera tells the story of the legendary Salem Witch Trials from the unique perspective of enslaved African women.

With Individual Desire is playing down the hall in The Ernest Balmer Studio. Famed bad-girl American poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and her mother Cora spend two months together in a secluded farmhouse near Dorset after Millay flees Paris in this theatrical imagining of what transpired. Read the rest of this entry »

Cheap Theatre for the Week of September 9th, 2014

September 9th, 2014

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What would theatre be without a little tension? This week’s Cheap Theatre is all about different kinds of tension – between family members, between individuals and society, and between the natural and the supernatural. But you don’t have to tense up about the seat price – it’ll be $25 or less to see any of the shows on the list below. So leave any tension to the stage, and go watch some Cheap Theatre!

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Review: Cycle of a Sari (The Cycle Collective)

September 8th, 2014

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Aerial silks and music transform Toronto’s Annex Theatre into a spiritual other realm for Cycle of a Sari

To witness Cycle of a Sari is to be transported to another real, another dimension, another spirituality. Onstage at Toronto’s Annex Theatre, this workshop production is a feast for the senses. It’s an examination of the threads, streams and cycles that run through whatever this thing called “life” is.

The Annex Theatre on Bathurst Street is beautiful and the perfect place to mount Cycle of a Sari. It is a small, 150 year old performance space that used to serve as a church. With wooden staircases on either side of the stage and stained glass windows, this venue oozes history and potential. The Cycle Collective takes full advantage of the space and are rewarded with sold out shows.

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